PATNA: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar faced public protests in two districts during his ongoing statewide tour on Thursday, and a man was arrested for issuing a threat on video to attack him by a bomb explosion.
Scores of people, many of them women, pelted bricks and stones at Kumar’s carcade when it passed through Nandan village in the western Buxar district. While Kumar remained unharmed, nearly ten policemen, including some of his security guards, were injured.
The attack took place when Kumar’s cavalcade was passing through an area inhabited by Dalits some two km off the venue for his public meeting. Hundreds of Dalit men and women, who lined the narrow road, reportedly wanted the CM to visit their villages to see how his government’s claims of development had bypassed them. “When the CM’s cavalcade did not stop, the people got angry and started pelting bricks and stones,” said an official.
Policemen and some JD(U) workers then beat up the villagers, accusing them of trying to physically harm the CM. However, some villagers said they were agitated as policemen deployed on the road first beat them up. A probe has been ordered into the incident.
In the second incident, scores of contractual schoolteachers waved black flags at Kumar when he was addressing a public meeting at Mohaniya in the neighbouring Kaimur district. “We have not been paid for the past six months, and the government is not implementing the high court’s order for paying us equal salary as regular teachers,” said Praveen Kumar, the state convener of Bihar Contractual Teachers’ Association.
“I am not worried about these protests. I love black colour. The people have right to protest in a democracy,” said Kumar in his speech. “Many people are disturbed due to my dedication for Bihar’s progress. I have been given mandate to serve the people, not to enjoy fruits of power sitting in Patna. I like to visit places to see the development work,” he added.
Patna police arrested a man, Pramod Kumar, at Fatuha for allegedly issuing a threat on video saying he would attack the CM and his security guards by a bomb explosion. The video clip, which also contained abusive language aimed at the CM, had gone viral on the social media on Friday.
The accused, Pramod Kumar alias Poyama, a daily-wage labourer, was interrogated and brought to Patna. SSP Manu Maharaaj said the man was apparently too upset about the government’s recent crackdown on illegal sand mining on riverbanks.
BJP state president Nityanand Rai condemned the attacks and threats on the CM, saying such acts seem to have been motivated by “our political rivals”. Arun Srivastava, a leader of former JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav’s faction of the party, however, described the attacks as “natural reaction to rampant corruption”.
Nitish Kumar is currently on the fourth phase of his statewide ‘Vikas Sameeksha Yatra’ (tour to review development) that began on December 12.